From the Rooftops: Iran Wrap Up for 7/1 and 7/2

In Foreign Affairs, human rights, Iranian election aftermath on July 2, 2009 by Editor Z

In a show of defiance of the government, protesters shout Allah Akhbar “God is Great” from thier rooftops at night.

Here is the latest on Iran for the first two days of July.

Iranian state television outlet Press TV states that eight of the nine British embassy staff taken prisoner by the Iranian government, for what is alleged to have been participating in the bedlam that has followed the disputed results of the June 12th Presidential elections in the Islamic state, have been released. However the British Foreign office says they have only heard of the release of two of the staff and are investigating the possible release of a third.

Despite the move though, relations between the Iranian government and much of the European Union member countries, especially Britain remain tense. A prolific military chief aligned with the regime has opined that he believes that the supposed role Britain and the European Union had in the post election demonstrations, mean that the EU has no legitimate role in any talks on the nation’s nuclear program.

Meanwhile European Union states are pondering rather or not to pull their ambassadors out of Iran, a move that Germany and Italy are opposed to.

Some allied with the regime are calling for an investigation of opposition candidate Mir Houssain Moussavi, and ex- Iranian President Muhammad Khatamei has called government actions in the wake of the controversial election “a coup against democracy”.

And although the levers of power and armaments of state remain at his disposal, President Ahmadinejad has without explanation canceled a scheduled visit to Africa. One has to wonder if he is worried that any absence could cause support for him to lessen in the counsels of power and his grip on power to loosen if he is out of the country for a period of time.

Speaking of desperate moves, some in Iran are now reversing course from blaming the death of Neda Soltani on protesters, the media, and foreign elements; and are now saying that her death was staged. You might want to tell that to her family. The U.S government rightfully slammed such absurdities in a statement.

Following the confirmation of Ahmadinejad’s win of the election by the Guardian council, there is more suspicion (as if more was needed) that the election results were rigged. Pictures from none other then Iranian state television of members of the council tallying the ballots of 10% of the Iranian districts, that show that the ballots being counted are unfolded and uncreased (it is common practice to fold a ballot before dropping it into a ballot box) and that Ahmadinejad’s name is written on several ballots where the name of the voter’s candidate of choice should be written, with the same handwriting and according to at least one person, the same pen. A spokesperson also in a fleeting moment of candor admitted that biases of members of the Guardian Council could have influenced their final verdict.

The candidate that came in third place in the Iranian elections has called the partial recount illegitimate.

Here is an interview on Rooz online, (H/T: Andrew Sullivan) with the sister of an 18 year old boy shot three times in the chest in the protests by Iranian government elements.

Rooz: Tell us about Ashkan.

Elham Sohrabi (Sohrabi): He was my younger brother, born in 1989, very smart and full of potential for education and sports. He was extremely kind and compassionate. Despite his young age, he made very wise decisions.

Rooz: Where were you on the day of the event?

Sohrabi: My mother and I were at our house. Ashkan had just returned from the gym. He told us people were protesting on the streets and that fires were burning everywhere. He said he had trouble getting home as anti-riot guards had closed off all surrounding streets and were dispersing people. My mother asked me not to let Ashkan return to the streets. I tried my best to distract Ashkan with things other than the street, but the crowds on our streets (Azadi) continued to get bigger. People sought refuge in alleys and homes. We heard different chants and the sound of bullets and smell of tear gas were everywhere. I asked Ashkan not to go to the street. But he said his last words to me and left the house: “Don’t worry, I’ll come back.”

Rooz: And that is the last time you saw Ashkan?

Sohrabi: Yes. The last time I saw him was when he left the house.

Rooz: When was he martyred?

Sohrabi: I don’t exactly know, but two hours later they brought the news of his death to us.

Rooz: Where was he shot?

Sohrabi: They had shot our Ashkan three times in the chest.

Rooz: Who was shooting at Ashkan?

Sohrabi: I did not see Ashkan’s killer but the protesters didn’t have any weapons. They just threw rocks.

Rooz: Were you easily able to retrieve Ashkan’s body from the hospital?

Sohrabi: It’s better not to talk about that.

Rooz: Were security forces present at the memorial service?

Sohrabi: Yes, two police cars [were there].

Another bit from Sullivan was brought up, a tweet that the Iranian regime has been water boarding some dissidents and demonstrators that it believes are responsible for the post election situation in the streets. Well I guess as long as the government says it is being used to gather intelligence vital to the security of their country I guess its ok with us, right Dick Cheney?

Related Item: (H/T: Watergate Summer)- The UK Guardian has a feature that shows the faces of those who have died in Iran since the Election.



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